Paul Lamkin went and saw intense indie noiseniks The Twilight Sad last week at The Lexington in London’s trendy North London. Here he describes the experience through the medium of type:
Why aren’t The Twilight Sad famous? Why do other Scottish bands such as Glasvegas get to bask in the festival season limelight while their far superior countrymen struggle for recognition and resort to playing tiny venues such as The Lexington, as they did last night?
“Maybe it’s because I’m too ugly,” says James Graham, lead-singer of the band (professionally photographed, above), after the gig. “Or maybe we’re just too noisy.”
Noisy they certainly are. Opening with “Reflection of the Television” from their forthcoming second album Forget the Night Ahead, the layer of feedback before Andy MacFarlane’s guitar kicked in gave a good indication of the earxplosion that was to follow.
New songs slotted into the set well alongside old favourites from debut album Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters. “Walking for Two Hours” was played early on and provided the first sing-a-long moment for the Sad’s cult following. Well, I think there was a sing-a-long; it was impossible to hear anything but the band in full flow, such was the volume.
New single “I Became a Prostitute” proved massively popular, although the gig’s defining moment was the final song “Cold Days From the Birdhouse”. Graham’s haunting outro lyrics “where are your medals?” hung in the air long after the gig had finished.
If there’s a criticism of the set then it could be that Graham, at times, seemed lost in the music and didn’t even attempt to engage with his audience apart from to check if they could understand him. He stood side on to the crowd while singing and during musical interludes sang/shouted without using the mic. The crowd were forgiving though – he sounded as good live as he does on recordings.
Graham also seemed like he was totally out of his box. He blamed this on Buckfast – the Devon tonic wine that is hugely popular north of the border. “Drink this stuff – it’ll get you wasted,” he said, handing me a bottle, before assuring me he hadn’t put anything in it.
The gig was the Sad’s last in the UK before they embark on a US-tour with fellow Scots and label-mates Frightened Rabbit. Forget the Night Ahead is available on Fat Cat Records on 21st September. Get it and get their debut album too whilst you’re at it.